A great main or starter, this brightly-hued risotto with savoury smoked salmon is perfect for any romantic occasion or to impress friends!
To smoke the fish:
Mix the brown sugar and smoked salt together, and pack onto the flesh side of the salmon. Leave for 15 minutes. Brush off the cure before smoking the fish: the salt and sugar will have done their work.
Place the wood-chips in the bottom of your smoker. Place the salmon on the food rack and slide the lid until it is nearly shut.
Place the smoker over a moderate heat until wisps of smoke start to appear. Once the smoking has started, close the lid completely. Leave on a low heat to smoke for 8 minutes. When the time is up, remove the lid from the smoker and allow the salmon to cool.
For the risotto:
Chop 1 beetroot into 1 cm dice, and set aside for the garnish.
In a food processor or blender, puree the other beetroots. Peel and finely dice the onion.
Peel and crush the garlic cloves. Pick the leaves off the thyme sprigs.
Grate the Parmesan.
Finely chop the chives.
Boil a kettle full of water.
In a wide saucepan, heat the olive oil.
Sweat off the onions, until they become translucent. Add the garlic and thyme and cook out for about a minute. Add the arborio rice, and stir to coat each grain with oil.
Stir in the white wine, and cook out until the pan is nearly dry.
Add the pureed beetroot, and a ladle full of the boiled water. Before adding the next ladle of water, make sure all liquid has been absorbed by the rice.
Keep adding water until the rice is cooked through yet still firm.
Stir in the grated Parmesan and butter until it is completely absorbed.
Mix together the diced beetroot, creme fraiche and chopped chives, until it takes on a bright pink hue.
Stir into the risotto, but try to leave apparent streaks.
Serve immediately, topped with flakes of smoked salmon.
«If you do not have a smoker, you can make one with a deep pan lined with two layers of aluminium foil, a wire rack that fits inside the pan, and an air-tight lid.»